Multicom boss calls for APD U-turn

A survey highlighting impact of the recent rise in Air Passenger Duty confirms that the decision to increase the tax was flawed, according to the boss of a leading travel technology firm.

The findings of an ICM survey on behalf of Sainsbury’s Travel Money confirm Multicom managing director John Howell’s belief that the government’s decision to raise APD in April has backfired.

The poll found that more than half of British airline passengers plan to try to reduce the rising cost of APD by taking long-haul flights from other European countries, as Travel Weekly reported earlier this month.

Howell strongly opposed this year’s above inflation increase in the flight tax, campaigning against the plans and launching an e-petition calling for the government to freeze APD.

Despite his pleas falling on deaf ears at Whitehall, support for the petition was strong with more than 800 signatures backing the call as the travel industry let its views be known.

Howell said: “I’m not surprised that travel-savvy holidaymakers are avoiding paying APD by flying from other European hubs.

“There are clearly significant savings to be made, especially for a family of four or more, which only serves to highlight the failings of the decision to increase APD.

“What is even more alarming is that more than 1 in 10 would avoid air travel altogether rather than pay the APD – how much damage is that doing to the package holiday business and UK plc?”

He added: “I welcome the initiative launched by Abta this week calling for 100,000 people to email their local MP to support its Fair Tax on Flying campaign. I will be encouraging all our staff at Multicom to get behind this.

“If the evidence clearly shows the decision was flawed then let’s hope the government will listen this time and add another U-turn to the growing list of policy reversals we have witnessed already.”

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